07/25/2007 12:00AM

Sovereign voting altered

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Several changes in the voting criteria for the Sovereign Awards, effective this year, were announced Wednesday by the Jockey Club of Canada.

The most significant change will be in the 2-year-old divisions, as a minimum of two starts in Canada now will be required as of the cutoff date, which this year is Nov. 25. Previously, horses had to make three starts to be eligible. That number will remain fixed for all other categories.

An amendment has been made to the rule governing voting for turf specialists. The rule had limited horses considered "strictly turf performers" to eligibility in only three categories: champion female turf horse, champion male turf horse, and horse of the year. Now, turf horses can be voted champions in the 2-year-old and 3-year-old categories as well.

The rule regarding voting for outstanding broodmare has been amended. Previously, a mare must have had a Canadian-bred stakes winner in the current year and a different Canadian-bred stakes winner in a previous year to be considered. Now, those runners need only be stakes-placed.

The outstanding owner vote will now reflect Canadian racing only, rather than accomplishments by Canadian-based owners in all jurisdictions.

Also, website submissions in all media categories now will be accepted, provided that they have appeared on a site recognized by the Jockey Club of Canada.

This year's Sovereign Awards ceremony will be held on Dec. 14 at the Westin Habour Castle in downtown Toronto.